Ahh the joys of September in an election year. Mudslinging’s in full force, along with the usual mass-suckerization that goes on in American politics these days. I was reminded of that thought-up-on-the-spot term (mass-suckerization) when independent candidate T.J. O’Hara posted a little something on Facebook that caught my eye:
“Political billboards, bumper stickers, and yard signs suggest that you’ll cast your vote on name recognition alone. Are you insulted yet?”
Ha! Couldn’t have said it better myself, because earlier this year I actually was thinking about just how much America’s electoral system caters to morons. 😛
So. What are CNN, CSPAN, and other political junkies all across the country going to be talking about between now and Election Day? Swing voters, independents, and “states in play.” Why? Ever wonder why it seems like news organizations beeline towards rather small chunks of the voters in this country when it comes time to elect a president?
Well of course that would be because of how the system works. Politicians have this thing for manipulating people, and what better targets to go for than the bozos who don’t half know anything that’ll vote for someone if they like their smile or wear a nice enough tie. 😛 Basically, here’s how it works. You have your Liberals and Conservatives who actually know what they believe and why they believe it and will stick like glue to their party lines. If you’re Joe Generic Politician, you won’t care about these ideologues because the more cemented views they have on issues the harder they’ll be to convince to change sides. If they’re on your side, you can bet they’ll stay so no need to cater to them too much, and if they’re on the other side, it’ll be a lot of work. However, those people in the middle on the other hand….. 😉
Yeah, that’s where this emphasis on swing voters and Independents comes from. The people who don’t stick rigidly to a party platform or care about politics at all have as much a vote as the most educated hardline liberals and conservatives in the country, so when it comes to getting the most votes why even bother trying to make people on the other side switch sides when they could just convince people in the middle to take their side instead? Little wonder that the two dominant parties here in the states are moderates who carve up the middle, though I do think a pragmatic Centrist organization like the Modern Whig movement could mess that up quite a bit if it ever got big enough. Other Western democracies have a Centrist party complementing the left and right wingers so I don’t see why we couldn’t end up with a three party system in this country, but that’s another discussion for another day. 🙂
Now, the big question. With all we’ve discussed, who REALLY runs this country? The President? Nah. Somebody has to vote a President into office. Who among the voters really has the most say in swinging election results and determining this country’s course of action?
That’s right, the undecideds who get carved up by the Democrats and Republicans to tip the vote balance in their favor. 😛 The ancient Greeks who we get our inspiration for democracy from would roll over in their graves if they knew of what this country has done with this system. 😛 In their day, idiotes (where we get our word idiot from :-P) were folks who abstained from being involved in public affairs. These folks knew what made democracy work, namely people having a clue what they were doing when they voted for someone.
Now contrast that to today, where it seems like everywhere we turn there are movements to register voters who are as clueless and pliable as possible, like all these “youth vote” events to try to get naive teenagers to register to vote and go out and vote. John Stossel had the right idea. If folks have no clue what they’re doing they should probably skip it until they had a clue what was going on, but don’t expect politicians to get on board with that anytime soon. Can’t have them actually having to hustle to get votes now can we? 😉
…and so the march of the bobbleheads to the voting booths will continue, and for those of us who actually know what’s going on, it’ll be all the more reason to be concerned about the future of this country. :-\